Jul 9, 2008

Eight-X (39)

Hello, Eight-X calling , a bit different in style then usually as all three albums are produced by the same man, Bill Laswell. Well, I have posted other productions of him here, these three rather work well together, as i noticed listening to them back to back last night. First up Herbie Hancock completely overhauling his sound and conquering MTV with his most radical step forward guided by Laswell. It shocked his old fans but the album was a commercial success and got Laswell into the spotlights....Not something my next artist is very keen on, Toshinori Kondo i guess being Japanese there's just too much 'zen' in his blood. The album , in Laswell style crosses over the jazz of the trumpetplayer Kondo into the synth rock arena, Sakamoto seems to be hovering in the background aswell (couldnt find Neo Geo produced by Laswell)....finally P.I.L. or Lydon Ltd because as he states himself: " Album was almost like a solo album, I worked alone with a new bunch of people." Considering the troubles with the band before and after, Album was a success, some thought it a betrayel having real musicians but again Laswell manages to create a great album setting off Lydon's raw singing with powerful musicality.....

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Herbie Hancock - Future Shock (83 ^ 95mb)

Herbie Hancock will always be one of the most revered and controversial figures in jazz -- just as his employer/mentor Miles Davis was when he was alive. Unlike Miles, who pressed ahead relentlessly and never looked back until near the very end, Hancock has cut a zigzagging forward path, shuttling between almost every development in electronic and acoustic jazz and R&B over the last third of the 20th century. Though grounded in Bill Evans and able to absorb blues, funk, gospel, and even modern classical influences, Hancock's piano and keyboard voices are entirely his own, with their own urbane harmonic and complex, earthy rhythmic signatures -- and young pianists cop his licks constantly. Having studied engineering and professing to love gadgets and buttons, Hancock was perfectly suited for the electronic age; he was one of the earliest champions of the Rhodes electric piano and Hohner clavinet and would field an ever-growing collection of synthesizers and computers on his electric dates. Yet his love for the grand piano never waned, and despite his peripatetic activities all around the musical map, his piano style continues to evolve into tougher, ever-more-complex forms. He is as much at home trading riffs with a smoking funk band as he is communing with a world-class post-bop rhythm section -- and that drives purists on both sides of the fence up the wall.

Having taken up the piano at age seven, Hancock quickly became known as a prodigy, soloing in the first movement of a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony at the age of 11. After studies at Grinnell College, Hancock was invited by Donald Byrd in 1961 to join his group in New York City, and before long, Blue Note offered him a solo contract. In May 1963, Miles Davis asked him to join his band and he remained there for five years, greatly influencing Miles' evolving direction, loosening up his own style, and upon Miles' suggestion, converting to the Rhodes electric piano.

Having left the Davis band in 1968, Hancock recorded an elegant funk album, Fat Albert Rotunda, and in 1969 formed a sextet that evolved into one of the most exciting, forward-looking jazz-rock groups of the era. Now deeply immersed in electronics, Hancock added the synthesizer of Patrick Gleeson to his Echoplexed, fuzz-wah-pedaled electric piano and clavinet, and the recordings became spacier and more complex rhythmically and structurally, creating its own corner of the avant-garde. The next step, then, was a terrific funk group whose first album, Head Hunters, with its Sly Stone-influenced hit single, "Chameleon," became the biggest-selling jazz LP up to that time. Now handling all of the synthesizers himself, Hancock's heavily rhythmic comping often became part of the rhythm section, leavened by interludes of the old urbane harmonies.

Hancock recorded several electric albums of mostly superior quality in the '70s, followed by a wrong turn into disco around the decade's end. Hancock continued his chameleonic ways in the '80s, completely overhauling his sound and conquering MTV with his most radical step forward since the sextet days. He brought in Bill Laswell of Material as producer, along with Grand Mixer D.ST on turntables -- and the immediate result was "Rockit," which makes quite a post-industrial metallic racket. Frankly, the whole record is an enigma; for all of its dehumanized, mechanized textures and rigid rhythms, it has a vitality and sense of humor that make it difficult to turn off. Moreover, Herbie can't help but inject a subversive funk element when he comps along to the techno beat -- and yes, some real, honest-to-goodness jazz licks on a grand piano show up in the middle of "Auto Drive.".

He launched an exciting partnership with Gambian kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso that culminated in the swinging 1986 live album Jazz Africa; doing film scores; and playing festivals and tours with the Marsalis brothers, George Benson, Michael Brecker, and many others. After his 1988 techno-pop album, Perfect Machine, Hancock left Columbia (his label since 1973), made a deal with PolyGram in 1994 to record jazz for Verve and release pop albums on Mercury. Well into a youthful middle age, Hancock's curiosity, versatility, and capacity for growth showed no signs of fading, and in 1998 he issued Gershwin's World. His curiosity with the fusion of electronic music and jazz continued with 2001's Future 2 Future, but he also continued to explore the future of straight-ahead contemporary jazz with 2005's Possibilities. An intiguing album of jazz treatments of Joni Mitchell compositions, called River: The Joni Letters, was released in 2007.

01 - Rockit (5:22)
02 - Future Shock (8:02)
03 - TFS (5:15)
04 - Earth Beat (5:10)
05 - Autodrive (6:25)
06 - Rough (6:57)

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Toshinori Kondo & IMA - Konton ( 86 ^ 82mb)

Of course, like many avant-garde experimenters and musical iconoclasts, Kondo's early musical influences were largely straight-ahead jazz, especially hard bop. Indeed, the name of his college band, the Funky Beaters, fairly reeks of hard bop attitude. Such was the atmosphere during this artist's college days, when an enormous upheaval took place in the society, fueled on by the radicalism of the '60s. Within the spirit of this music, he developed his own frame of reference which was more strongly influenced by his upbringing and religious studies than any particular musical influences. His father had been a shipbuilder, and this man's combination of bouts of hard work and total relaxation became something of a philosophical view. "Is great: doing nothing" and "Best part: no meaning" were typical summations of the Kondo world view during an era when his mastery of English was still rudimentary.

He played with both British guitarist Derek Bailey and soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy prior to his New York sojourn, and continued straddling the fence between conventional jazz collaborations and the outer fringes of free playing through his varied New York relationships. Back in Japan, Kondo formed his own quartet, International Music Activities (IMA), (Tristan Honsinger on cello, Peter Kowald on bass, Sabu Toyozumi on drums) . They released What Are You Talking About? (may 1983 ). Taihen (march 1984) backed the trumpet with the rock format of guitar-drum-bass. Metal Position (april 1985) used a similar setting with the addition of Haruo Togashi's synthesizer and piano. Konton (1986) featured a line-up of trumpet, keyboards, guitar and drums. His proximity to rock music was confirmed by the EP China Boogie (december 1984 ), featuring Bill Laswell, Anton Fier, Fred Frith, etc. The aforementioned return to Japan and great economic success eventually led to a decision to relocate to Amsterdam, where his profile became every bit as low as the Tokyo persona had been extravagantly widespread. Only a handful of Dutch musicians know how to contact him when he is in Holland, and he has made absolutely no effort to become involved in that country's heavily competitive jazz scene; and he is certainly the first immigrant to Holland about which that could be said.

In the early part of the new millennium, he was approached by the Dalai Lama about organizing an international peace festival in Hiroshima, an event that finally took place in 2002. Kondo continues to be a visionary spirit whose late '90s recordings in both free jazz and electronica have attracted an entirely new audience.

1 - Sundown (5:24)
2 - Yami (5:39)
3 - Y.U. (6:14)

4 - Sandswitch (5:41)
5 - YoYoYo (4:34)
6 - Gan (7:41)

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Public Image Ltd. - Compact Disc (now in Flac  258mb)

Following the Sex Pistols' breakup in 1978, Lydon approached Jah Wobble ( John Wardle) about forming a band together. The pair had been friends since attending the same school in the early 1970s, and had sometimes played music together during the final days of the Sex Pistols. Both had similarly broad musical tastes, and were avid fans of reggae and world music. Lydon also approached guitarist Keith Levene, with whom he had toured in mid-1976, while Levene was a member of The Clash. Jim Walker, a Canadian student newly arrived in the UK, was recruited on drums, after answering an ad placed in Melody Maker.

PiL began rehearsing together in May 1978, although the band was still unnamed. In July 1978, Lydon officially named the band "Public Image" (the "Ltd." was added several months later). PiL debuted in October 1978 with "Public Image", a song written while Lydon was still a member of Sex Pistols. The single was well received and reached number 9 on the UK charts. In preparing their debut album, Public Image, the band spent their recording budget well before the record was completed. As a result, the final album comprised eight tracks of varying sound quality, half of which were written and recorded in a rush after the money had run out. The album was considered groundbreaking on its release in December 1978. Grounded in heavy dub reggae, Wobble's bass tone was called "impossibly deep" by contemporary reviews. Levene's sharp guitar sound, played on an aluminium Veleno guitar, was to become widely imitated.

The album Metal Box (1979) was a more focused effort. In addition to the drugs and disorganization that were the normal condition of the band, Jim Walker had quit from general disillusionment, making way for a series of drummers. Metal Box was originally released as three untitled 12-inch records packaged in a metal film canister (later reissued as 2LP set, Second Edition), and features the band's trademark hypnotic dub reggae bass lines, glassy, arpeggiated guitar, and bleak, paranoid, stream of consciousness vocals.

The third album, not released in the U.S., was the live Paris au Printemps (1980). Lydon and Levene, plus hired musicians, made up the group by that time. Martin Atkins, who had initially joined at the tail end of the Metal Box sessions was re-recruited to drum on Flowers of Romance, an album considered much stranger and more difficult than the already strange Metal Box. Levene had by then largely abandoned guitar in favour of synthesizer. Levene being incapacitated on heroin much of the time -- had to leave. The aborted fourth album recorded in 1982, was later released by Levene as Commercial Zone. Lydon and Atkins claim Levene stole the master tapes. In 1983, PiL scored its biggest U.K. hit, when "This Is Not a Love Song" , by this time, PIL was a vehicle for John Lydon. Atkins stayed on through a live album, Live in Tokyo -- in which PiL consisted of him, Lydon, and a band of session musicians -- and left in 1984, following the release of This Is What You Want, This Is What You Get.

Anyone's first thousand guesses as to who Lydon would work with next couldn't possibly come close, as the unlisted credits for Album read as a motley crew of established musicians who literally have no business being anywhere near Lydon, let alone in a studio with him or with one another. Well, maybe that made perfect sense, given Lydon's ability to baffle. Bill Laswell--whom he worked with in Time Zone the year before--produced and played bass, which isn't too much of a stretch. But Steve Vai, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Ginger Baker ? With its emphasis on big guitars and big drums, Album was written off by some as PiL going stadium rock, but others remarked that Lydon's confrontational lyrics and caterwaul vocals, and the abundance of Eastern-style melodies, helped steer this album away from the realm of conventional 80s metal. The album is rife with surprising and very effective musical flourishes: never is this more evident than on the closing "Ease," a beautiful, monumental mood/rock piece with synth, sitar, didgeridoo and a Steve Vai guitar solo.

In the liner notes of PiL's Plastic Box compilation (1999), John Lydon remarked that "In some ways . Obviously the most important person was Bill Laswell. But it was during the recording of this album in New York that Miles Davis came into the studio while I was singing, stood behind me and started playing. Later he said that I sang like he played the trumpet, which is still the best thing anyone's ever said to me. To be complimented by the likes of him was special. Funnily enough we didn't use him..."

PiL released Happy? in 1987, and during the spring of 1988 performed throughout the United States as part of the INXS Kick tour. The album was less well received by critics than its immediate predecessor, but still produced the classic single "Seattle" In 1989, PiL toured with New Order and The Sugarcubes as "The Monsters of Alternative Rock". PiL's ninth album, 9, appeared earlier that year. The album was produced by Stephen Hague, Eric "ET" Thorngren, the band, and not as planned by Vigin, Bill Laswell. In 1990, PiL released the compilation album The Greatest Hits, So Far. The band's last album to date, 1991's That What Is Not, saw Atkins also returning to play on the recorded album, but did not remain for the subsequent tour. Lydon disbanded the group a year later after Virgin records refused to pay for the tour supporting the album, and Lydon had to pay for it out of his own pocket. After completing his memoirs in late 1993, Lydon decided to put an end to PiL and pursue a solo career. In 1997 he released a solo album, Psycho's Path.

1 - F.F.F. (5:31)
2 - Rise (6:06)
3 - Fishing (5:19)
4 - Round (4:26)
5 - Bags (5:27)
6 - Home (5:50)
7 - Ease (8:12)

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All downloads are in * ogg-7 (224k) or ^ ogg-9(320k), artwork is included , if in need get the nifty ogg encoder/decoder here !


Peter said...

Go here for my custom "digital download" cover instead of "compact disc"...I think it's funny, anyway.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great post about Herbie Hancock. So many people only know about him from "Rockit" or now from the Joni album that they miss out on important projects like the Head Hunters. I write about how Sly influenced Herbie in my book Sly: the Lives of Sylvester Stewart and Sly Stone. I hope you'll check it out.

Michelangelo Merisi said...

Hey man are not Toshinori Kondo & IMA "Metal Position" and Summer Indoors "There´s Orangie " Thanks . . . Congratulations , Luck . . .